Dramatic NASA photos show rocket explosion up close
WASHINGTON (FOX 13) - NASA has released dramatic new close-up images of last year's rocket explosion at a Virginia spaceport.
The Orbital ATK Antares rocket -- carrying an unmanned Cygnus cargo capsule to the space station -- suffered a catastrophic failure moments after launch from Wallops Island back in October of 2014.
No one was hurt, but the cargo was destroyed and the launch pad was damaged so badly that it took a year to repair.
NASA released a report last month that suggested several possible causes for the accident, but did not pinpoint a particular one.
Orbital, the rocket's manufacturer, is pressing ahead with plans to resume cargo launches to the space station with a different type of rocket engine as soon as next year. The engines on the Antares that exploded were originally designed and built for the failed Russian moon program and had been refurbished after decades in storage.
Meanwhile, the Cygnus cargo capsule may return to space sooner. The next one is set to be launched from Florida aboard an Atlas V rocket next month.
It will be the first private space station resupply mission since SpaceX suffered an in-flight failure earlier this year.